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Stand up gal

"Oh no. I need to get off my butt!"
© Paul Moore |

There’s been a lot of buzz online lately about the health risks of sitting all day, even if you work out regularly. For a writer, that’s a topic that really hits home.

It’s not like my old job where I left my seat frequently to talk to people, walk to meetings, visit the production floor, or get some tea. I can easily sit at my home desk without moving for hours.

What to do? I write best on the computer. I love those times when I’m completely engrossed in my story or busy working on a Scrivener lesson. But I don’t want it to take years off my life, and my legs and backside get tired when I sit too long.

Treadmill desks are the new craze. I know several authors who’ve invested in buying one or rigging one up, but I neither have the budget, nor the space for a treadmill desk.

So, I opted for a stand up desk. Apparently, Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, and Virginia Woolf used stand up desks, so I’m in good company. For now, I've improvised with a sturdy box on top of my existing dining-table-turned-writing-desk, but maybe eventually I’ll spring for the real thing.

I find that I move around a lot more, just while standing. I’m also more alert, even during the post-lunch slump that usually hits. If you Google “stand up desk” you’ll find a lot of people claiming more productivity, and I’m not surprised.

Just to clarify, I don’t stand all day long. There are health issues with that too, and sometimes my feet need a break, but I’m trying to limit my sitting time to less than three hours per day. So far it’s working.

And if I need a change of scenery, I take my MacBook downstairs and stand at the bar-height breakfast table. It's almost perfect.

I guess we’ll have to change that old acronym BICHOK (Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard) to something new. FOFHOK (Feet on Floor…) doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Maybe BOCHOK (Butt Off Chair…) would work. 😉

Any ideas? Are you doing anything to combat the risks of sitting?

Tell your friends!


  1. Reply

    This has been on my mind a lot too, especially since my day job also requires me sitting at a desk all day. I don’t have space for a treadmill so a standup desk sounds like a good alternative.

    My current routine is to get up every 1000 words or so, plug in my headphones, and dance around like a fool, before sitting back down to write. Looks really dumb, but it cured aching in my back and shoulders. hehe.

  2. KM Fawcett


    Ok. You inspired me to stand up while reading this (and the link). It’s weird typing while standing though. 🙂

    • Reply

      It does take a bit of getting used to, Kathy, but after a few minutes I forget about it. I would like to get a full desk or platform though because my second monitor needs to be up higher. For now I just tilt it way up.

      Always glad to have inspired. 🙂

  3. Reply

    I’m laughing reading this, Gwen because I’m typing this reply on my MacBook which is on my kitchen counter. Although I’m on my feet all day, I know that the evenings I spend crashed in front of the computer are not good so I’ve been rotating locations around the house trying to find a good height to stand. Funny side benefit is that I usually have music playing while I’m writing so I find myself swaying along to the music. Psychologically this seems better for me too – not exactly sure why.

    Wishing you success as a stand-up!

    • Reply

      I like to move around too, Mary. And I’ve known for a long time that I get ideas while in motion, especially running. I’m hoping maybe standing/swaying/fidgeting will help too. 😉

      Success to you, too!

  4. Reply

    I have an automatic reminder to move around every couple of hours. I’ve reached an age where my joints ache if I sit too long so I get up and pace. It also helps to intersperse a few Tai Chi moves.

    • Reply

      Good idea, mmarkmiller. I use a timer sometimes too. Of course, sometimes I ignore it if I’m on a roll. 😉

      Tai Chi’s great. I like to practice a Kung Fu form or some yoga to wake up my limbs and brain. Or just do squats or something.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  5. Reply

    I’ve been thinking about this for a while and meaning to comment. Great idea, one I had never considered, prior to this post. When I go full time after my little ones go to school full time I can’t sit in a chair 8-10 hours, I’ll become a fatty.

    I love to relax but if I can some how set up my computer and start to work and not think about it, I’d be fine. I’m going to try to figure something out to make it work. Thanks for the idea.

    Also, I’ve seen at my gym, the receptions all stand but they stand on a (half Swiss ball?) type thing. It isn’t a real ball but it’s flat on the floor side and the half sphere is the side they stand on, I’m assuming for stability and core strengthening. Just another thing to consider. Could you imagine working out, while working.. I’d be ripped!

    Good post

    • Reply

      Thanks, Rich. That half ball thing is a BOSU trainer. I hadn’t thought about standing on one of those. What a great idea. I’d probably move more too, because I’d want to bounce. =)

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